The Goblin King of the southern Misty Mountains surveyed his throne room. It had grown in wealth over recent years. It was remarkable how much they had managed to pilfer from Moria without the balrog or its slaves noticing.
"My king, a strange noise has been reported in the depths," one gangly goblin stated. "It was a sort of muffled boom."
"Dwarves? Have they set off some kind of explosive?" Grish asked.
"No, my king. At least, not as far as we know. We have scouts investigating."
"Good. Have them continue to investigate."
The goblin nodded and walked out, and was almost immediately replaced by another goblin. Grish sighed. The work of a king was never done.
"What is it?" he asked.
"The prisoners are restless, my king," the goblin reported.
"Well then dope them up with whatever you gave them last time this happened."
"Would it not be better just to kill them?"
"No," Grish said. He felt slightly uneasy about live captives, but he'd kill them eventually. It was a rare thing to have such prisoners as these. He wanted to enjoy them. Ah, he was a true goblin at heart no matter what the others said.
"Yes, my king." The other goblin looked deeply worried, but he bowed to his king's orders.
"Bring me the female," Grish said. Sauron had been right. He was enjoying this. He was enjoying this immensely.
"Yes, my king." Once more, the goblin left, and was immediately replaced by another.
"Two miners have not returned from their position near the northern entrance," this one reported. He had a squeaky voice.
"Did they leave the mountain?" Grish asked.
"No, my king."
"It could be a cave-in. Another goblin reported hearing a loud noise."
"I suppose, my king," the goblin said. He sounded doubtful, and nervous.
"Are there bodies?" Grish asked.
"No, my king. There are scouts looking into it."
"Tell me if there are any new developments."
"Yes, my king." The goblin left, and for once, there were no more.
Grish smiled and leaned back in his throne. The work of a king was hard, but the relaxation of a king was even better.
In a few moments, the second goblin returned with the female prisoner.
"Excellent," Grish said. "You may leave." He didn't even spare the goblin a glance as he left.
"I wonder what the king does," the first guard said.
"Something interesting, I suppose," the second guard said.
"Like with the Dunlendings?"
"I suppose so. Only better. Dunlendings don't wash."
"Some of them do."
"Well, I suppose they'd have to wash. For example, if they walked through a river, they'd technically be washing."
"No, one can only wash if one has the intent to wash. With soap and all that."
The two guards stood at attention as someone approached. They tried to stand even more at attention when they saw the tall, dark figure of the Black Easterling. Haradrim. Not Easterling. Not after what had happened to the last goblin who'd called her that.
"Is this where Grish is?" she asked.
"Yes, ma'am!" they exclaimed, saluting.
"They really respect you," a small human boy commented. "I thought they'd be trying to kill us both."
"Time enough for that later," the Haradrim said. "Open the door."
"Er…" the guards muttered.
"I said open it!"
"The king is…busy."
"Open the damn door!"
"He's busy with –"
"You don't want me to open it myself, because that'll mean you two are dead with your heads split open!"
The guards decided the wrath of the Haradrim was worse than the wrath of Grish. "Yes, ma'am," they chorused and wrenched open the doors.
Khamul took a glance inside. "Stay here," she told Firin. "You two, you so much as touch him and I'll have your hearts for dinner. Got that?"
The two guards nodded and looked down at the decidedly ugly, shrimpy human. What did he mean to the Black Easterling?
"Kind of looks like that one…you know?" the first guard said. "If you squint. A lot."
"Naw, he doesn't," the other said.
"No, no, squint. Screw up your eyes and…urk!" A white-feathered arrow embedded itself in the goblin's throat. He crumpled to the ground. His companion quickly followed him.
Knife out, Firin stared down the hallway in horror. "No!" he groaned. "Not after all I've been through!" His brothers were coming.
There was a loud bang as the door to the throne room flew open. A short, hunchbacked goblin limped out. He had a terrible squint in one eye. The goblin had a sword in one hand and was trying to fend off Khamul. Not far behind the two was a white wraith of a woman.
"Mother!" Firin exclaimed. "I found you!"
"My sons!" the woman exclaimed, stretching out her hands and looking down the hallway, not even sparing a glance for Firin. "They've come for me!"
"Mother!" a pair of voices shouted from down the hallway. More white-feathered arrows flew and goblins fell dead as they poured into the corridor.
"What's going on?" Khamul snarled as she and Grish dueled.
"Treacherous wraith!" Grish roared, threads of drool flying from his fangs. "Leading them here!"
"I didn't lead anyone here! No one but him!"
"You fool! You've damned us all!"
"And you've insulted me for the last time!" Khamul kicked Grish in the knee. There was a loud crunch and as the goblin buckled, she sliced off his head.
"You killed him!" Firin exclaimed, grinning, his disappointment momentarily forgotten.
"Who's this lady?" Khamul asked, gesturing to Firin's mother, who was watching as figures in shining armor cut down goblins.
"My mother," Firin said.
Khamul frowned and looked at the woman. "Uhhh… Firin? What are you exactly?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're a Man, aren't you?"
"Well, yes, I certainly hope so."
"Right. Well…this lady's an elf."
Firin nodded. "Yes. She's my mother."
"You're not an elf."
"Yes, I am."
"You just said you…okay, never mind. By your appearance, speech, and intelligence, I would say you're not an elf."
"I am!" Firin exclaimed.
"My sons!" the woman wailed.
"Lady," Khamul said, tapping the woman's shoulder. "Is this kid your son?"
The woman glared at Khamul. "Foul Haradrim," she spat. "Leave. Your kind has ever allied with the dark."
"I just saved your life. Is that boy there, Firin, your son?"
"Firin? Oh, yes, that's what he calls him sometimes. When he's in a bad mood."
"Who?" Khamul asked. This was starting to degenerate into madness.
"Is Firin your son?" Khamul asked. We'll talk about the name-thing later, she thought.
"No! Of course not! Would I possibly breed something like that?" The woman pointed at Firin, a disgusted look on her face.
"You're my mother," Firin said. "Who else would it be?"
"You stupid boy!" the elf shrieked. "You disgusting, vile, wretched creature! I am an elf! The daughter of the two most mighty in all Arda! You dare to think yourself related to me! You are not worthy to even look upon me!"
Khamul had heard enough. "Hey, bitch," she said. As the elf turned, Khamul punched her in the jaw.
"You knocked her out," Firin said dully as the elf crumpled to the floor.
"Good riddance," Khamul said. "Let's get out of here before her sons do something stupid and violent."
"Too late," Khamul muttered, raising her sword.
A pair of armored elves broke from the fray and charged toward them, bloody swords raised.
"My brothers," Firin said. "Or…not."
"Took you this long? Stupid kid," one muttered, shaking his head.
"Damn near got yourself killed, didn't you?" the other snarled. "Shouldn't've expected any better. Father had us looking everywhere for you! It's your fault we were so late!"
"Excuse me," Khamul hissed, "but I think you'll find we were the ones who rescued your precious mother."
"Shut your mouth, Haradrim!" the first elf snarled.
Khamul was about to cut him open, armor or no armor, when the elf was suddenly jerked back and thrown across the room.
"Morion, I would be very glad to see you if you didn't have a homicidal gleam in your eye," Khamul said.
"Who's this?" Firin asked.
"You might call him my commanding officer," Khamul said. "Morion? Are you possessed again?"
The Witch-King's eyes were completely black, as were the fangs in his mouth. He looked possessed, but he hadn't killed the elf. Morgoth would've killed him.
"Get out of my way, Khamul," he hissed. "You've already caused enough trouble today!"
Half and half, Khamul decided. It was Morion's voice, but there were echoes of Morgoth's. If this kept up much longer, Morion would lose himself all together. Without Vorea by her side, Khamul didn't like her chances of defeating the Fallen Vala.
"What is this madness?" the second elf snarled. He raised his sword and marched toward Morion. Khamul winced.
The other elf went flying across the room as well. It was just Khamul, Firin, and the unconscious female elf in the corridor with Morion/Morgoth. More goblins had joined the fight. Perhaps the elves would lose, though it was doubtful.
"What do you want?" Khamul asked.
"You have no idea what idiocy you have committed!" Morgoth snarled in Morion's voice. "Run away, Khamul!" Morion cried. "He'll kill you!"
"What do you want?" Khamul asked. She had a feeling she knew.
"First you dared to defend Eorl!" Morgoth growled. "And now you stand as the protector of the greatest threat to our existence."
Khamul glanced around. Nope. It was just Firin and the elf. "Maybe you're talking to the wrong person," she said.
"Get out of my way!" Morgoth roared, leaping forward. He drew a dagger. A pale dagger that gave off a feeling of ice, of a chill death.
"Don't let that touch you!" Khamul bellowed, shoving Firin to the side. He slammed into a wall and slid to the floor, clutching his small knife.
"I don't know why you want to kill him," Khamul said, "but if it's for the same stupid reason that you wanted to kill Eorl, I won't let you."
"And if it's a very good reason?" Morgoth hissed. "If it is, perhaps, the fact that he will bring ruin upon us? If it is, perhaps, that he is Gandalf's ace, as the Ring is Sauron's?"
Khamul looked very hard at Morgoth. Slowly, she lowered her sword.
"Good," the Dark Vala said. He turned and advanced upon Firin. Tears were welling in the boy's eyes. He looked at Khamul with an expression of betrayal.
The pale dagger was raised, its point sparkling.
Khamul snorted. "You're crazy." She kicked Morgoth in the side of the knee, knocking him to the ground. He would've gone to the ground, at least, if he hadn't caught himself.
"Traitor!" Morgoth snarled. He tried to regain his balance, but he was limping badly from the wound.
"You're crazy!" Khamul laughed. "Crazy!"
The flame in Morgoth's eyes flared and he rushed forward with a growl. Khamul had her back to the wall. There was nowhere to move, nowhere to go. The only thing between her and the Dark Vala with the enchanted dagger was the elf.
Khamul smiled and stuck her foot under the elf's body. With an upwards kick, the body flew toward Morgoth. The dagger struck her in the shoulder, and together they slammed into the wall.
"Hope this doesn't hurt too much, Morion," Khamul muttered, whirling around, raising her sword. She brought the pommel down on Morion's head. There was a loud crack and the Witch-King crumpled to the ground.
"Is he dead?" Firin gasped.
"No," Khamul said. "He should be fine when he wakes up."
"You saved my life," Firin said. He looked at the elf he'd called mother. "Will she be all right?"
"I don't know," Khamul said. "I'm leaving her for her elf kids. Who are you going with? Them or me?"
"I can go with you?" Firin asked.
"I'll take you back home and try to knock some sense into your father."
"I don't think you could. He's very…set in his ways."
Khamul smiled and put her hand on Firin's shoulder. "I've got a feeling that we've got an understanding between the two of us."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.